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Five downloads to help you express your creative side

From digital painting to 3D interior design

No doubt you spend plenty of time working on your PC, but what about having fun? Of course you can play games on a computer but what can you do to express your creative side? Here's five free downloads that make it easy to get creative in a digital fashion, from painting on your PC to helping plan new interior décor for your home.

MyPaint 0.9.1

MyPaint is an easy-to-use, open-source digital painting application.

Open the program and you'll see little beyond a blank screen, colour selector and wide range of brushes, then. The latter start with the familiar - "pencil", "pen", "marker", "watercolour", "sponge" - but soon branch out, with realistic oil, pencil or charcoal, and move on to the experimental "fur", "leaves", "DNA-brush" and more.

If that's not enough for you then you can tweak the built-in brush engine to produce new styles of your own.

Sweet Home 3D 3.2

When you next get bored with your home then you could try randomly rearranging the furniture, until you find a layout that appeals. But if that sounds too much like hard work, then we may have a better idea. Sweet Home 3D is a free, open-source interior design tool that helps you plan out everything from a revamped room to entire new house, and includes a 3D preview of how your design will look, so you can get everything just right before you start work.

If you've tried similar tools before then you'll know that they can be very tricky to use, but Sweet Home 3D is different. Everything you need to "dress" a room is immediately available in a tree view: chairs, stools, bookcases, desks, sinks, beds, baths and more. All you have to do is choose what you need, drag and drop it onto the room area, and position the object to suit your needs.

LEGO Digital Designer 4.1.7

LEGO is one of the most enduring toys ever invented and it has successfully moved with the times to ensure that it has stayed relevant. LEGO Digital Designer is another example of the company keeping up to date with the latest technology, and the program enables you to work with virtual LEGO bricks on your computer.

The program works like a 3D CAD program, but rather than drawing and designing your own components, you have a wide range of different LEGO pieces to work with. The design area can be rotated and you can zoom in and out so you can check out your creation from any angle and in close up detail.

LilyPond 2.12.3

LilyPond is a music notation program. It does not play music, it takes the music you have composed and outputs a score in a beautiful classical engraved style. The music is written in a straightforward ASCII format, no fancy editors are needed and keyboard input is far faster than any mouse driven editing once you pick up the basics.

FotoMorph 13.2.3

FotoMorph is a free professional graphics tool that makes it easy to create animations that morph one image into another.

The program comes with a sample project that morphs a cheetah's face into that of a young girl, which helps you understand how it all works. Essentially you just give FotoMorph a start and end image and it'll handle all the details for you (although there are plenty of tuning options available to improve the quality of results, if necessary).

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